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A Cog in the Wheel

by William Knowles

William was born in 1930 at Eagley. His father was a labourer on Turton Council and his mother was a cleaner at various big "posh" houses. Some of his earliest memories include shopping with mother on Saturday afternoons pushing his way through the crowds. Also, not being able to have the toy tin car he always wanted from Woolworth's - money was short.

William attended Eagley Mills School and Bolton Church Institute. His memories from schooldays include air raid sirens and travelling to school in Bolton at 11 yrs of age on the train - a really grown up experience. Williams's friends at school included Colin Charnock, (sadly no longer with us) Ken Frost, Arnold Cooper, Arnold Anderson and George and Fred Cartridge. I remember vividly the night bombs dropped on Eagley Mills and surrounding countryside. The whining of the siren on Eagley Mills when we were in school a matter of yards away. To celebrate VE day and VJ day my pals and me built a large bonfire to celebrate.

In 1943 Bill Boardman, (my pal) and me had a trolley fixed to our bikes and we toured the district of Eagley collecting waste paper for the war effort. For this, we were presented with a salvage steward badge and a letter dated 12 May 1943 by the Engineer and Surveyor of Turton U D Council. The motto on the badge was "a cog in the wheel".

When William left school started work as a clerk on the LMS Railway at Adlington (Lancs) Railway Station from August to December 1946 and then to Bromley Cross Goods Depot 1947/1948 and then on to National Service. During his leisure time William would visit Belle Cinema, Belmont Road, Crompton Way Cinema, Tonge Moor and Eagley Sunday School functions.

Some of the changes William has seen during his lifetime include Blue sette roads to macadam, trams to buses, horse drawn milk floats to motorised vehicles, having "free" use of the road on a bike instead of being edged off the road, penny rush at cinemas on a Saturday afternoon to no cinemas at all.